With customers at the forefront of today’s sales strategies, it’s more important than ever to cater to your client’s needs. Value-based selling is the name of the game, so communicating how your business addresses unique pain points is one of the most effective tactics to close the deal. In addition to showing each prospect the benefits of your product, it’s crucial to demonstrate flexibility and attentiveness by adhering to your sales prospect’s timeline.
Although it’s tempting to jump into a sale with your own timeline in mind, following your prospect’s timeline leads to more closed deals. Why? When you follow your prospect’s timeline, you’re not rushing them into a decision or forcing their hand, nor are you moving through the sale too slowly and missing a prime opportunity. Think of it like goldilocks—let your customer lead you towards a sales timeline that’s just right.
Prepare to Meet Your Sales Prospect’s Needs
Before you’ve even scheduled the first meeting, set yourself up for success by streamlining your sales process. This means understanding your own expectations so you can match your sales pipeline to fit your prospect’s needs.
Outline the Sales Journey – Start by creating several buyer personas based on your ideal customer profile. Summarize the sales journey for each buyer persona by moving them through your pipeline. As you gather data, make note of which types of customers generally take longer to close a sale, and which customers want quick results. This way, you can approach your next meeting with a prospective client and have a picture of what their timing might look like, given past clients with similar needs.
Define Actions – Understand the actions that lead your prospect to the next step in your sales process. Were there specific questions that led them to schedule a follow-up conversation? What spurred them to make a final decision? How did your reps handle the sales pitch and what was most effective? Try to understand the turning points in your process so you can easily guide prospects through in the future, and understand where they are in the sales funnel.
How to Prioritize Your Sales Prospect’s Timeline
Once you have a prospect you’re going to pursue, you can start to prepare more concretely to meet their unique needs.
- Research – Before you meet in-person, do some research and get to know your prospective client. Make note of the key characteristics of their business, and try to understand how your product might address their needs. This will help you gain a picture of whether or not their business fits your ideal customer profile.
- Be Proactive – Your prospect’s timeline should be one of the first things you bring up in your initial meeting. When you ask about timing early on in the relationship, you can move forward knowing you’re on the same page. Delaying asking about their timeline might leave a prospect feeling rushed later, or conversely, worried they will need to close the deal too quickly for you.
- Ask About Specific Upcoming Events – Check in to see if your prospect needs your product or service for a specific event or function in the near future. For example, if they are hosting a conference, they may need a high volume of your product and you want to be prepared to deliver. Armed with event details, it’s easy strategize about a timeline that works for both of you, and allows you enough lead-time.
Mantras for Following a Sales Prospect’s Timeline
When you go into your meetings with the right mindset, following your prospect’s lead will feel like second-nature. Try to remember that you’re there to help your client not to sell your product. According to Hubspot.com the best strategy is to “provide value and ask for nothing in return. This process isn’t about us, it’s about them.”
Additionally, go into your meetings with the mindset that you never stop learning. Take notes during meetings, pay attention to customer’s goals, notice what works best for your productivity and the success of your business. When you approach your prospect’s timeline with an open and curious frame of mind, it will be easier to adjust to their demands and to mesh your process with their needs.
Find the Best Prospects for Your Business with LeadJen
Part of building a functional partnership is working with businesses who are genuinely interested in what your company has to offer. Following unproductive leads can be disheartening, and matching your customer’s timeline only works when you’re both on the same page.
Tired of going down the prospecting rabbit hole? LeadJen is a professional outsourced sales development service dedicated to providing our clients with high-quality leads. LeadJen’s team of professional SDRs will work with your company to assess your unique goals, understand your ideal customer profile, and to provide you with a list of prequalified leads. Let LeadJen find a timeline that works for you.